how to set fitness goals that make sense

—it’s not you. it’s not your goal. it’s your plan

Let’s cut to the chase. A few months ago, my dream was to be able to do four strict pull-ups by the time I turned 40. (Ahem, that day is creeping up closer than a scary clown that just climbed out of a sewer.)

Unfortunately, it was a dream and nothing more. If it had been a goal, there would have been a solid plan in place. Sure, I had a lot of ideas of what I could do, but I never finalized the plan to turn my dream into reality.

When I started working on pull-ups, I could grip the bar and basically just dangle there, which brought back terrible memories of those horrific fitness tests in PE class. (For the record, back in the day when I was a PE teacher, my students never experienced that torture.)

Those dangling moments were an eye-opener to the amount of work I would need to do to make my dream a reality.

So I asked a couple of trainer friends for tips on how to reach my goal. I started putting in actual work, but then I found boxing and—like the squirrel that I am—I got distracted. I fell in love with the new skills and there’s something about learning the sport that just made sense to me. 

Working toward my pull-up goal had become tougher than I thought.

Also, I hated dangling from that damn bar. And I hated asking for help on strength work.

So I stopped asking my friends for recommendations when I wasn’t making progress.

I stopped asking them to give me a boost to the top of the bar so I could practice negatives.

Then I stopped trying completely.

My halfhearted attempt at a plan was absolutely the reason why I failed to make any progress whatsoever.

I needed a better plan. With help from a trainer, I decided that I need more time to build strength. This would help me pull myself up without causing injury. 

Part of this plan included writing down my workouts to keep myself honest, provide a clear picture of success in my head, and outline the work I need to do to get there.  

My goal is still to do four pull-ups, but my plan is new and improved. 

And because I know I have a tendency to push too hard under pressure—in a way that could cause injury—I’m purposely not adding a date to achieve this goal. 

Part of my plan is to make progress at my own pace, and I’m so content with this decision.

Turning a dream into a reality requires a plan.

here’s how to determine YOUR fitness goals.

Everyone has a different reason for starting their fitness journey or taking it to the next level: Body aches and pains. Family health history. High blood pressure. High cholesterol. A desire to feel better inside or out. And so on. We all have our reasons, but they all seem to fall into one of four categories:

  1. To get healthy
  2. To lose weight
  3. To get strong(er)
  4. To “find my abs”


To overcome your challenge—whatever it is—consider coming up with a plan that will prepare you to:

  • Create goals that really matter to you. 

Do you really want to lose 10 pounds, or would you be happy losing five pounds, having more energy, and fitting into your favorite jeans again. When you set your goals, make sure they’re as achievable as they are rewarding. 

Are you doing this for yourself? Your family? Both? What do you really want to achieve? When you have a concrete reason to start your fitness journey, you won’t have so many excuses to quit.

  • Break it up. 

You’ve got one BIG goal. Let’s say it’s losing 60 pounds. Should you be telling yourself to “lose 60 pounds in one month”? No! Break your goal down into smaller, more bite-sized goals. Tell yourself to “lose five pounds.” It will come easier than you think! Once you start stringing small wins together, you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing your larger goal. 

Ask yourself these 3 goal-setting questions.

Your goal could be just about anything, but it needs to be tailor-made just for you. To stay focused and shut down distractions, ask yourself these four questions:

  • How will I know when I’ve achieved my goal?
  • How will achieving this goal create a better life for me? (Try and think of at least three ways.)
  • What challenges could prevent me from achieving my goal? (Try and think of at least three ways.)
  • What am I going to do when these challenges arise?


Write them down!

here’s how to deal with distractions.

Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re in our head. Sometimes they come from other people. Sometimes something just happens that knocks us out of our stride. If you ever get distracted or deterred, ask yourself: Does the goal still make sense to me?

If the answer is yes, awesome! Keep chipping away at it. Figure out how to eliminate those distractions and get back to work.

If the answer is no, tweak the goal or replace it with a new one altogether. Yes, it is okay to start over. 

Here’s how to handle setbacks.

Along with distractions come setbacks. As you make progress toward your goal, but encounter an obstacle, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What prevented me from succeeding?
  2. How did I respond to those setbacks?
  3. What can I do differently to be successful?
  4. What can I learn from this that will help me better prepare to meet my goal?
  5. What can I do right now to get back on track?


Make modifications and remember that you can always start over. And no, you don’t have to wait until Monday, the first of the month, or the new year, either. 

Instead, choose to stay focused each week, each day, each hour.

If you need a helping hand setting your goals, I’d love to help. Let’s connect on Instagram!

hugs + high-fives,


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